A Healthy “I Hate To Cook” Lifestyle

I don’t really hate to cook, but I often can’t find the time. Maybe that sounds familiar to you?

Many years ago, Peg Bracken wrote a book called The I Hate To Cook Book. My mother never bought a copy because she liked to cook and did so often. But times and life demands have changed since then, and I take advantage of every possible opportunity to avoid cooking.

More accurately, I take advantage of every way I’ve found to eat healthful meals without cooking. This brief post will share just a few of those ways – nothing earthshaking, nothing you haven’t thought of, just ways you can keep your nutrition going in the right direction without cooking. Well, occasionally a little microwaving or heating in a toaster oven.

Vegetables

An entire industry has grown around the busy-ness of everyone’s life. You can find organic, bagged salads – with serious greens like kale, spinach, chard and more.

You might try precut broccoli, cauliflower and other vegetables that are labeled “stir-fry”, but are perfect for adding to salads or other dishes, or microwaving quickly.

Trader Joe’s has refrigerated packages of many different kinds of vegetables and even pre-cut butternut squash. They can simply be warmed in a toaster oven.

Several brands of frozen vegetables can be “steamed” by microwaving them in the bag for several minutes. In general, microwaving vegetables is quick and easy.

When it comes to any vegetables, raw is always an option. Just make or buy an organic dip or an organic bottled salad dressing. With a juicer, the possibilities are virtually endless.

If you have access to a grocery store with a good salad bar, you can usually find all types of vegetables and not be limited to salad greens only.

Protein

This can be a sticking point. I’m in favor of adequate protein (20 grams or so per serving/meal). It can be difficult to get enough if you’re using what I’ve called “protein imposters.”

Protein imposters include nuts (mostly healthful fat with only a little protein), quinoa (mostly healthful carb with only a little protein), and cheese (mostly saturated fat with only a little protein).

If you’re okay with dairy products, protein options include cottage cheese and, of course, Greek yogurt. Many Greek yogurts exist now, and not all of them have much protein. Read labels and look for one with 18-22 grams of protein per serving.

I have frequently relied on protein powders. A good example is Garden of Life Raw Protein that is vegan and organic. Another good option is hemp protein powder, and my favorite brand is Manitoba Harvest. It’s more palatable than other hemp proteins. There are many other brands and types of plant proteins, as well.

Again, if you’re okay with dairy products, you might try whey protein.

I do recommend getting the unflavored variety of any protein powder you select. Flavoring almost always means added sweeteners.

Complex Starches

You can find precooked packs of brown rice or even lentils, and simply warm them or microwave them quickly.

Cans of organic, pureed sweet potato, pumpkin, and butternut squash can come to the rescue. Season them as you prefer.

If you don’t mind cooking some pasta, you might make it in quantity and refrigerate it. A recent research study found that refrigerated, reheated pasta has less insulin impact and even less calorie impact than freshly cooked pasta. If you’re looking to increase the nutrition value, try pasta made from quinoa, brown rice or black bean flour. Whole Foods sells sugar-free, organic pasta sauces that taste great.